Considered as a metaphor for the political times we share, last week’s Cheney-Leahy episode is perfect. Cheney, a Republican, tells Leahy, a Democrat, to go fuck himself. Instead of Leahy planting one on Cheney’s lop-sided head, Leahy runs outside and neener-neeners to the media, “The Vice-President of the United States just told me to go fuck myself. I think it’s inappropriate.” Cheney then goes on Sunday morning’s dead white man talk shows to gloat about what a tough guy he is for telling Leahy to go fuck himself. Leahy goes on the same shows for more blubbering about the “inappropriateness” of being told to go fuck himself. Like most of US, I wish they’d all go fuck themselves instead of US, but …
Of course auto-eroticism’s national champs are the Greens. Nobody even has to suggest that they go fuck themselves. If it even looks like there might be a fight with real power, the Greens begin fucking them-selves. If there’s a choice between doing something genuinely progressive or capitulating to Democrats, the Greens can be counted on to capitulate. Why? Because Democrats have dominated the Greens since the party’s inception. Whenever push comes to shove with Democrats, the sabs come up with somebody like this David Cobb character from Eureka whose candidacy will ensure that the Greens will remain as politically irrele-vant as the left, the latter being non-existent anyway.
Dan Hamburg, a Green Democrat, was the Northcoast’s Democrat congressman. Hamburg was a good congressman, easily the best liberal the Northcoast has seen, or is likely to see, in that high office. (The late Clem Miller was also a solid liberal, and environmentally way ahead of his time, but he died in a plane crash run-ning for re-election against Don Clausen, the Republican who succeeded Miller and, like John Ashcroft, lost the election to a dead man. Clausen, of course, proceeded on into office and functioned about like present Democratic congresscipher, Mike Thompson.
But Hamburg didn’t like being a congressman or a Democrat, belatedly coming to understand that the whole show is basically two sides of one corporate coin. So Hamburg became a Green and ran for Governor as a Green. He could have, should have, run against Thompson as a Green right here in Ecotopia where he had a large base of support and the Democrats don’t. Hamburg might even have defeated the lackluster Thompson, but rather than take on his former comrades, Hamburg ran for Governor, he and the Green Party dis-appearing into the media maw.
A very large number of Ecotopians vote for Democrats on the hoary lesser-of-two-evils basis. On the rare occasions a Green like Doug Thron surmounts the drag of the Green Party’s tedious processes to take a shot at the Northcoast’s Democratic Party machine, and it is a machine, the Green Party deserts him for the Democrat.
Without smart, well-known progressives like Nader and Peter Camejo either running as Greens or Greens working for them, the Greens are invisible. And last weekend the Greens again opted for invisibility by snubbing the Nader-Camejo ticket, the strongest ticket progressives have created since the great Eugene V. Debs and Emil Seidel back in 1912.
Not that the Greens stand for much of anything to begin with. The party’s la-di-da “key values” instantly put the rest of America on full candy ass alert. And the key values are to the right of the Democratic Party’s small progressive groupings anyway.
Kerry is worse than Bush. He’ll out-Bush Bush. He already has with full-on statements of support for the disaster in Iraq and the usual Democratic Party blank check for the monstrous Israeli government of Sharon, our side’s Saddam Hussein. Domestically? Ol’ Long Jaw is still talking about health insurance for all Americans equivalent to what he, Mike Thompson, Patti Berg, and Wes Chesbro and their families get for “serving” the corporations and the upward flow of America’s wealth into fewer and fewer vaults, but don’t get your hopes up for single payer; Kerry will come up with something like Billery’s cockamamie health plan, the one the HMO’s and the insurance companies wrote for Bill and Hillary, the book writers.
The true situation in America is this Boonville guy I know who has three hernias he can’t get fixed because he works on his own as a carpenter. Works hard, too. He can’t go on welfare to get the operation he needs because he makes just enough money not to qualify for Medi-Cal. His sons hope to get into the Army because there’s no work for them, not even as Pop’s helpers. Nader and Camejo talk to this guy, the Greens and the Democrats don’t. (A class analysis of Mendocino County’s dozen or so active Democrats reveals them as quite well-to-do. Ditto for the Greens. Only the cumpfy-wumpfies can work up enthusiasm for Kerry or the non-entities the Greens just put ahead of Nader and Camejo.)
BRUCE ANDERSON is the publisher of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, America’s best weekly newspaper.